Skateboarders won’t be performing any 720 McTwists in Plymouth Meeting anytime soon, as Black Diamond Skate Park owner Dan McCollister said he will not be opening up a new complex at the Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust-owned space.
PREIT will release Black Diamond from its current lease at the Moorestown Mall on Saturday, March 31.
Instead, McCollister said he is exploring an option to open up an “action fun style sport complex,” in the South Jersey area to serve local skaters. It would most likely be paired with something such as a bowling alley or laser park facility, McCollister said.
In addition to the future skate park and sports complex, McCollister said the Black Diamond Pro Shop will open its doors at 13 Main St. in Moorestown on Sunday, April 1. All of the retail options currently offered at the skate park will be offered at the pro shop, McCollister said.
McCollister’s Black Diamond Skate Park has been serving township skaters since 2006, when he purchased the facility from the Vans Corporation. Since the beginning of his time at the mall, McCollister said PREIT had told him several times that they were planning to expand the movie theater, but nothing ever came out of the idea.
After signing a lease on a month-to-month deal in 2006, McCollister signed a long-term lease for the facility several years ago, which included a clause that PREIT could terminate the lease if the theater was ever expanded.
Unfortunately, both PREIT and Regal Cinema thought the time was right to expand the theater after township voters approved the sale of liquor licenses to restaurants in the mall.
Black Diamond was quickly without a home, but McCollister said he understands the business decision.
“I don’t fault them for the decision. We’re a low-rent provider; our benefit is to the community and our surrounding community. They break even in our space, they don’t make a ton off of us, but we drive a lot of traffic. We drive traffic like a supermarket or a movie theater. We drive a lot of people into the mall to shop and eat. It was a beneficial relationship,” he said. “Their goal was to expand to a much larger sized footprint theater that doesn’t allow us at the space anymore.”
McCollister said PREIT suggested moving the park to its Plymouth Meeting Mall or the Voorhees Town Center. The logistics of moving to these two locations just wouldn’t work, he said.
“Plymouth Meeting doesn’t service South Jersey at all. I’m a South Jersey guy, we want to bring a skate park back to South Jersey,” he said.
Dan Kurp, 12, and his buddies Mark Pogozelski and Bryant Smith were skating at the park on Friday, March 2, and lamented over its closure. All three of young skaters are from Shamong Township.
“It stinks. There are no other places to go that you can skateboard anywhere around here,” Kurp said.
The skate park will put most of its equipment in long-term storage — or move some of the pieces to its Philadelphia skate park in the Franklin Mills Mall, McCollister said.
Anyone with a membership to the Moorestown facility can use it at the Franklin Mills Mall skate park, he said.
As a courtesy, all memberships at the Moorestown park have been extended by three months, he said.
Check out the latest information on the skate park’s website at www.bdsk8.com.